Today, I offer you a guest post by my daughter Abby. She has creatively titled this “Creative writing final” which she wrote for her AP Literature class. You’ll soon know that her writing is much more creative then the title! Thank you Ab’s for allowing me to proudly share your heart! I love you!
I head to my car with a sense of urgency as the chilling air bites my skin and snow flurries fall upon my hair. Never being fully prepared for the winter weather I’m not satisfied until I get in, starting my car and blasting the heat. I buckle, hearing the reassuring click and relax back into my seat with a sigh of relief. Another school day successfully completed. After taking the time to let my car adjust to the frigid weather, I shift into reverse. I neglect to plug in my phone to play music the world around me seems too loud, and I am in desperate need of some silence. I start my twenty-minute drive home, a route that I have driven countless times before, seeming to know it like the back of my hand but today, today seemed different. I don’t know if it was the lack of music filling my ears that seemed so unlike me or the melancholy feeling of the cloudy weather outside, but something was causing me to feel this way. I’ve come to love this long drive to and from school. The only time I feel like I get to escape the intensity of reality, just me and my music. But Today it was just me, not even music here to drown out my thoughts but just me driving home reflecting on this time of year. I round a corner and in front of me a straight road as far as I can see. Everything visible, everything predictable, nothing to hide, just the straight and narrow. I surrender to the silence, only the faint rhythm of the wiper gliding across the window could be heard.
My thoughts drift to my past self being beyond excited for the holidays and the traditions our family had kept long before I was born. Going to my grandma’s house on Christmas Eve, eating dinner and attending church. I couldn’t imagine a Christmas or a time where we wouldn’t be together. At the age of nine, my parents divorced, suddenly my dad wasn’t apart of this tradition anymore. Amongst all the change and chaos, the traditions, no matter how simple they were, seemed to be the one constant and unwavering thing in my life. The next year my dad moved away, and I was found spending Christmas with him over the phone, but I was still surrounded by my family, Christmas eve, like every year before. I remember being excited for the new year and the experiences and opportunities that came along with them. A new year meant I was getting older and at that time all I wanted to do was grow up. If only I could go back in time and tell myself to slow down. The reality is you can’t go back in time, so here I am today, a senior in high school, watching every constant thing and tradition in my life slowly fade away before my eyes.
I bring my attention to the road before me now as I approach a sharp turn. The straight and narrow road only a thing of the past as I cautiously wait to round the corner unaware of what could be hiding. I start thinking about myself, I think about why I don’t feel the same excitement as I did years in the past. I think about all the change happening around me this time of year. My grandparents migrating to Arizona early this year, abandoning the tradition I held so close to my heart. I carefully turn my steering wheel and ease off the gas as I round another corner looking for the possible deer or biker ready to jump out in front of me. I start thinking about my brother, weeks away from becoming a father at the young age of twenty and his girlfriend, a new addition to the family who happens to be carrying my nephew. My father a week away from moving back home after ten years of being away. This time he’s not alone but bringing along his wife and son. My half brother, who being alive for 3 years, I’ve only seen enough times to count on my hand. Despite my dad living hundreds of miles away he never failed to make time to visit and as a trade off our relationship was as strong as it could get.
I think back to that straight and narrow road and long for the simplicity of it. All this change, all this uncertainty of what lies ahead makes me uneasy. I acknowledge that times are different, that nothing lasts forever and nothing stays the same but as I approach my last holiday season of being home I long for the unwavering traditions I clung onto in my times of change as a child. I reach the final wind in the road I think about my email inbox on my phone filled with college acceptance letters informing me of the biggest decision I will make in my life so far. I once looked at myself a custom to change, one who thrives off change, but now I’m caught ignoring those important emails regarding my future as one last attempt to enjoy this holiday season stress-free. I come out of the long stretch of the windy road and in front of me, a road with a slight curve ahead but nothing to fear as I know I will have a clear view the rest of the way home. I no longer long for that straight road behind me as I see a perfectly visible view in front of me. Change is inevitable even though I do miss the lost traditions of the past, I realize the excitement of the future and what is yet to come. I enter my driveway and shift into park. Turning the key and grabbing my backpack from the passenger seat. I open the door, leaving the nostalgic atmosphere of my car and head outside, back into reality.